Today, Microsoft very generously loaned us an HTC Trophy phone for the weekend. This is the phone that has received the lion share of the bug reports with Wordament, so we really wanted to get to the bottom of this. On the engineering team we only have Samsung Focus devices, but we thought that the “Windows Phone 7 chassis specification” basically ensured a level of consistency across every Windows Phone 7 device. For the most part it does. But, even with just a few minutes of playing with the Trophy, we’ve seen some really interesting differences from the Focus. Our snap takeaway was: we need to have a few more test models on the team because there ARE subtle, but important differences across phone models.
Here’s what we’ve heard from many of you with the Trophy:
- The phone gets very hot within a few games
- The battery drains very quickly
- The touch response isn’t great
- There are noticeable network hangs at several points during the game, particularly at the 1:00 mark
- After the latest change, “green is unplayable”
We intend to get to the bottom of these. We care A LOT about your experience and making this game great on this platform. Of all of the issues above, the last one (about the green) was the strangest and hardest to believe. But now, having seen a Trophy, we understand it: it’s the screen tech.
The Samsung Focus has a screen called “Super AMOLED” – it’s basically a display driven by a set of special chemicals that emit light under voltage. The tech is super cool and originated with the same chemicals that make fireflies light up. The Trophy (and a few other models) have a backlit LCD screen. We didn’t expect as much difference in image quality as we saw. We are now investigating the following visual issues:
- It appears that the accent colors on LCD-based devices are different than on AMOLED devices. In our latest update, we color matched by comparing your theme’s accent color against some hardcoded values (from the Focus). Whoops! It turns out that doesn’t work because the color codes on the Trophy are different than the Focus. One consequence of this is that our Start screen doesn’t show your name in some theme combinations (if you have an HTC Trophy, try the Dark Red theme).
- The “Correct” word green is almost impossible to see – it looks white – we will pick a more visible color that works on both screen technologies.
- In our most recent 1.4 update, we chose to follow the Windows Phone 7 “Metro” design guidelines even closer, and go with “white text on accent colored background” in the Light theme. We now understand that fifth issue above: it’s impossible to see on the Lime theme.
So, OK, shame on us. We need to own some extra phones. We are going to use our loaner this weekend and acquire at least a Trophy this coming week. We had no idea that the difference would be this significant. But, we aren’t going to leave you hanging. We are going to get to the bottom of all of these issues and release another update in the coming weeks.
If you know of other issues that are bugging you, please let us know! We’d prefer them in email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks for your interest and thanks for playing!
— Black Snapper